Cruïlla becomes Europe’s first 5G festival

18 / 06 / 2019
  • Festival Cruïlla will test 5G technology applied to virtual reality through a 360° immersive experience in which spectators can see and experience live concerts as if they were on stage with the group
  • The project is being promoted by Cruïlla and Mobile World Capital Barcelona, on behalf of 5G Barcelona, and has been developed technologically by ACCIONA, Cellnex, Qwilt and MASMOVIL

Festival Cruïlla has become one of the world’s first testing grounds for 5G technology applied to the entertainment and live music industry thanks to Mobile World Capital Barcelona, Cellnex Telecom, ACCIONA, MASMOVIL and Qwilt, in the context of the 5G Barcelona initiative. The festival will be held from 3 to 6 July in Barcelona’s Parc del Fòrum.

This initiative will enable attendees at the tenth Festival Cruïlla to experience what it feels like to enjoy a live concert from the stage, beside their favourite artists, using 360° virtual reality and immersive experience.

Festival Cruïlla is further expanding the range of activities on offer to its audience. This time it is the turn of technological innovation addressed to improving user experience. Festival Cruïlla does not aspire to being the largest festival but rather the best, with an emphasis on the public’s experience. This year it has therefore made a pledge to 5G technology, which will offer new potential to the entertainment and live music industry.

The project is already involving artists such as Bastille, Years & Years and Love of Lesbian, who have agreed to take part in testing this new technology and “virtually share” the spotlight on the stage with spectators. The full list of artists who will take part in the experience will be specified at a later date.

An immersive experience

The project will involve the installation of a 360° camera on the festival’s main stage. This will record images of the concert. Once these have been processed, they will be sent via small cells –micro-antennae– to 3D virtual reality headsets located in the Cruïlla 5G area in the festival Village. Spectators may use these headsets to watch 360° streaming video and experience the feeling of being practically on stage with the group.

The video flow is broadcast with minimum latency –response time– and is therefore viewed virtually in real time, because of two factors. First, 5G’s characteristics: broader bandwidth, and greater velocity and reliability. Second, the temporary memory storage capacity and the extreme data processing of the network itself, which is known as edge computing.

The result is a better experience for users, who can now feel part of the show. It will be used to encourage the development of new technological experiences in culture and entertainment.

Cruïlla 5G technology partners

This project is part of 5G Barcelona, an initiative intended to turn the city into a 5G digital hub in Europe and promoted by the Government of Catalonia, Barcelona City Hall, Mobile World Capital Barcelona, i2CAT, CTTC, Atos and the UPC, in partnership with cutting-edge 5G development companies.

ACCIONA will provide the technology for capturing and viewing the 360° images necessary for this experience. It will therefore install a 360° stereoscope camera on stage. During streaming this will broadcast the images in 4K to next-generation computers with a capacity to process 180 high-resolution images per second. These devices will generate a three-dimensional visual effect to emulate the experience of being on stage with the artists.

ACCIONA is a pioneer in the development of immersive audiovisual experiences through its subsidiary ACCIONA Producciones y Diseño. It will also contribute its knowledge of and experience in the use of 5G technology with the prior development of use cases of this technology applied to the construction and the industrial logistics sectors.

Cellnex Telecom, Europe’s main wireless telecommunications infrastructures operator, will install the small cells through which the signal is received and broadcast, as well as the optical fibre that connects them to servers, the 5G routers and a virtualized core. Spectators’ entire virtual experience will practically take place in real time because of the edge computing data processing undertaken by Cellnex at a data centre that it will set up in the compound. Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) will be installed at this data centre to perform the functions of broadcasting the images closest to the end user and thus reduce total latency (the time it takes for data to reach the user).

MASMOVIL, Spain’s fourth major telecommunications operator, with 8 million clients and a firm vocation for innovation and service, has planned the 5G radio network that will be used for the 360° immersive experience, using the licenses in the 3.5GHz band, the priority band for deploying 5G, that it already has, as well as certification for the small cell deployment that will be undertaken, to ensure the necessary coverage and compliance with all the regulations for such installations.

Lastly, Qwilt will be in charge of the Open Edge Cloud, a content delivery platform that guarantees the delivery of 360° video streaming to the 3D virtual reality headsets with the maximum quality and minimum latency possible.